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J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ. 2014 Apr;19(2):238-50. doi: 10.1093/deafed/ent045. Epub 2013 Oct 21.

Spoken english language development among native signing children with cochlear implants.

Author information

1
Department of Linguistics, Yale University, Dow Hall, 370 Temple Street, New Haven, CT 06520-8366. kathryn.davidson@gmail.com.

Abstract

Bilingualism is common throughout the world, and bilingual children regularly develop into fluently bilingual adults. In contrast, children with cochlear implants (CIs) are frequently encouraged to focus on a spoken language to the exclusion of sign language. Here, we investigate the spoken English language skills of 5 children with CIs who also have deaf signing parents, and so receive exposure to a full natural sign language (American Sign Language, ASL) from birth, in addition to spoken English after implantation. We compare their language skills with hearing ASL/English bilingual children of deaf parents. Our results show comparable English scores for the CI and hearing groups on a variety of standardized language measures, exceeding previously reported scores for children with CIs with the same age of implantation and years of CI use. We conclude that natural sign language input does no harm and may mitigate negative effects of early auditory deprivation for spoken language development.

PMID:
24150489
PMCID:
PMC3952677
DOI:
10.1093/deafed/ent045
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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